Philippe Clement is a winner, but he needs to prove it at Rangers

Philippe Clement is a winner, but he needs to prove it at Rangers
PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - APRIL 28: Rangers manager Philippe Clement is seen prior to the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between St. Mirren FC and Rangers FC at The Simple Digital Arena on April 28, 2024 in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We have been immensely harsh on Ibrox Noise over Rangers manager Philippe Clement, given the way things unravelled since pretty much the loss to Motherwell and especially the 3-3.

We were massive advocates of the Belgian boss, directing attention to his remarkable 3 titles in a row in Belgium for two different clubs – a rare and impressive feat, even at the more modest level of the Jupiler Pro.

He also won their equivalent of the Charity Shield, meaning it was four domestic titles in 3 years – a very decent haul.

He was a clear winner, who had done it at a solid level in a decent league, and that for us was major credibility.

And it absolutely still is.

While we have reservations about the pressure levels of either Genk or Brugge being even half of what they are at Rangers, Clement is clearly a capable and intelligent man who knows how to win.

He showed that for about 25 matches at Rangers till the wheels painfully fell off.

So is he the right guy for the club?

Things did derail Monaco-style for Clement, where the end of Rangers’ season echoed exactly what happened to him in France – Ibrox fans blame the players for what happened in Govan this season, do they blame the players in southern France as well?

Clement simply has to learn now – it’s two seasons in a row where the final 7-10 matches have absolutely crashed on him, and a lot of it was his own doing.

Stubborn selections, bad formations, players out of position and loyalty to bad players collapsed Rangers’ season, and we gift-wrapped the league to a very ordinary Celtic who know how to win.

This is something Clement knows as well, but the last two seasons, since he’s been in charge at Monaco and now Rangers, he’s not had the winning mentality aside that League Cup – he hasn’t won anything in football since 2021, and we find it harder to rate the League Cup for gravity being that we didn’t face Celtic.

He needs to bring it back, that winning mentality, and that means facing up to his own errors.

And he’s honest enough now to admit he’s made a few.

The players? When Monaco’s season collapses in the final straight, then Rangers’ does the exact same the following season at the same point, how much blame is on the players of either club?

They’re not innocent, of course, but they are playing to their manager’s tune, that’s the point.

They follow his orders, and if those orders aren’t working, the team isn’t going to win.

In simple terms?

Clement needs to return to his own drawing board, the one that made him win so strongly so many times in Belgium, and learn from what he’s done wrong the past two or three years.

In his first season at Monaco, taking over halfway through, he was MUCH stronger, and his final 10 matches saw 9 wins and a draw, so it was clearly still there post-Brugge. It’s just fallen away badly the following season and frankly hasn’t come back yet.

The players? Well it’s a bit redundant given the bulk of this squad is going to leave this summer, but nevertheless, they need to get off social media and focus on the club, on winning, and stop gesturing at angry fans.

It’s not all on the manager, but a lot of it is, and Clement needs desperately to look at himself and his squad and suss where he’s been going wrong the past few months.

It is going to be tough to overcome Celtic next season or even this weekend, but it starts by changing things.

And that may well include his own approach.

Rangers need to have a fighting chance next season, and it’s on Clement and the management to deliver that.

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